Adulting for Actors

How to organize your essential paperwork.

Organization makes my heart sing!

Now if you look at my house you probably couldn’t tell, but every now and then I get TAKE the time to get it together.

Basically I make piles of files and then take an afternoon to go through everything. I get a special coffee (venti iced coffee, one pump peppermint and almond milk) and go to it!

Whether you’re doing this one a month, once a quarter – or let’s be honest – most of us do this just at tax time. Here are my favorite tips & tricks for getting your life & career organized.

Personally, I’m obsessed with my Suze Orman protection portfolio, but most of us don’t have a mortgage, or car to deal with. So, here’s my list for Actors.

You can get a file folder to keep all of your important documents in.

(Apparently this one is fire & waterproof. I have not personally tested it.)

I would recommend getting a zip-up folder to keep all your important papers (Birth Certificate, Social Security card, etc) and keep it at your apartment when you’re on the road – if you know who is subletting your place. You can keep it with a friend if you have a sublet you’re uncomfortable with. I don’t think Actors Federal Credit Union has safe deposit boxes, but your bank might, if you want to keep your personal documents somewhere else. Just don’t forget where they are!

For Taxes

Here’s my list of categories that your tax person needs for taxes:

Granted now most transactions give you email confirmations, but if you’re old-school and like to keep paper receipts, I recommend you get an accordion folder.

If you want to take one on tour, they have little ones, as well. (You can also use it for a check-book and passport holder when you’re on the road.)

I like exporting ALL my data from Jan 1 – December 31 of each year onto a spreadsheet for the accounts I use from day-to-day:

  • My Credit Card
  • My Checking Account

Then, line all the tabs up and make a copy of the page. I also take out all the lines where I put a payment toward my credit card.

Here comes the playtime – > Here are the different tabs I have and how to use them:

  • Master
    • All the data from my credit card & checking account.
  • Yearly
    • I take a sum of my yearly income & expenses tabs.
      • (Did I spend more than I made? or make more than I spent?)
    • Divide the yearly total by 12 & *Voila* you have your monthly average expenses and income.
  • Categories
    • In this tab I like to “sort” the “description” category by name.
      • It can either be super eye-opening to see how much I’ve spent at a certain store each year. *DoorDash – Cough*
  • Taxes
    • …and finally a tab for taxes. If you don’t have a separate business card – this is key. I only keep the lines that are from my business expenses and categorize them out for my tax guy. But, I keep this spreadsheet for back-up in case I need it (aka – get audited). I also pull all my receipts from this list as well. Add anything that you paid for in cash (studios, lessons, etc).


If you’re like me – or most performers I know – you have had a few injuries along the way.

It can get pretty confusing to try to keep track of all of your info. Personally, I like a good old 3 ring binder with sheet protectors.

Keep a few pages of paper at the front to record any of your vaccinations, injuries, surgeries and medications.

You don’t need to bring this whole 3-ring binder on the road with you, but it wouldn’t hurt to keep a quick “medical info” list with you – in your wallet – or I’m sure the company manager will have you fill one out, so it’s good to have as a quick reference, so you don’t forget anything.

This 4 inch, D ring binder that zips is a great option.

Of course, who doesn’t need more non-glare sheet protectors?

That’s it for now! Let me know what tips worked for you – I’d love to hear from you!

xoxo, Michelle